Solar power in New Mexico
Solar power in New Mexico in 2016 generated 2.8%  of the state's total electricity consumption, despite a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) projection suggesting a potential contribution three orders of magnitude larger.
Parabolic trough solar systems have been determined to be the most cost effective large systems, and in July 2008 New Mexico's utilities combined to release an RFP for a parabolic trough solar system to generate from 211,000 and 375,000 megawatt-hours (MW·h) per year by 2012. New Mexico generated 514 MW·h from solar power in 2006, and 1,760 in 2007.
Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories has been testing solar thermal devices at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). On January 31, 2008, a Sterling solar ice-cream dish system set a solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record of 31.25 percent net efficiency. The previous record was 29.4 percent, set in 1984.
As of July 29, 2008, New Mexico has one of the most generous metering laws in the country, and covers all systems up to 80 MW. Excess generation of less than $50 is rolled over to the next month; over that is paid to the consumer.
Renewable Portfolio Standard
The New Mexico Renewable Portfolio Standard calls for 20% renewable energy by 2020, and 4% from solar power from investor owned utilities, and 10% renewable from rural electric cooperatives. Renewable Energy Certificates, (RECs), may be sold through the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS).
As of January 2012, no concentrated solar power (CSP) plants are currently planned for New Mexico. Though NREL claims the state has the "technical potential" to install 4,860,000 MW of CSP covering 47% of the area of the state, at 2017 prices such a proposal would require a total overnight cost of $18,992,880,000,000 ($18 trillion), or 3,392 times the state's annual budget. Even if such a feat were financially feasible, critics note New Mexico would remain dependent on burning coal and "natural gas" (fossil fuel methane) to compensate for the loss of solar at night and during cloudy weather. Thermal storage permits CSP generation to be stored and used as needed, but with a round-trip efficiency of only 38% it is not currently cost-effective at a scale necessary to maintain grid reliability.
|New Mexico Solar Capacity (MWp)|
Solar powered facilities
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Solar power in New Mexico.|
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- Four utilities partner on major solar project
- State's four major utilities partner on solar project
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